Don’t like mainstream dance, bubblegum pop or R'n'B? Prefer your night to have a more rock and roll feel in a bar where baggy jeans and old Converse won’t get you thrown out before you’ve stepped in? Then look no further than Liverpool’s Barfly.
A typical low-key bar, not very swanky or classy but the music says it all. Looking beyond the interior, the music and the people make this a place worth going to. The bar is located just behind the house-music influenced clubs in the heart of Liverpool just off Bold Street.
It's quite hidden and it looks like it could be anything from the outside as the plain brick walls and windows don’t give away too much, but there is a sign saying Barfly just above the door so look out for that. It's a modest size, so if you end up losing your friends you’re sure enough to bump into them later in the night.
The bar is fairly long and there's a lot of space, so you won’t be queuing for too long. Spirit drinks are usually served in small plastic glasses.
There is also a much bigger bar downstairs which almost looks like a small stadium, and it's usually used for Skins-style rave parties when guest DJs are lined up. Be aware: these nights are usually a big hit with the ravers, who blow their whistles like it's the 90’s, but there's a great atmosphere none the less. The bar down there is situated at the top of the stadium layout and behind some double doors where it’s a little quieter, perfect for a gossip with friends or just quiet enough to hear what they want to drink.
A setback (especially for the girls) is the state of the toilets. It seems that alternative/rock clubs have pretty grim toilets and this is no exception. One out of three toilets in Barfly has a lock and the toilet roll usually disappears quickly, just like the soap. On the other hand there is a full length mirror for makeup applying and checking your outfit is still in the right place. There are also toilets in the bar downstairs, each with a fully functioning lock, and even soap!
This is not the type of bar where WAG wannabes and perma-tanned guys go. This bar is definitely aimed at, and enjoyed by, the alternative set who are interested in good rock/indie/electro beats and less about what they’re wearing.
The usual individuals that populate Barfly on a busy Friday night are rockers, mainly students and 18 to 25-year-olds, but there are quite a few middle-aged folk who are there for the music just as much as anyone. Everyone is friendly and down to earth, and this includes the bar staff who give customers a smile and some time out of their day to talk and joke.
The general vibe is extremely laidback, you can go in your jeans and Converse or in a nice dress and not feel out of place. As long as you are enjoying the music no one bats an eyelid. Guest DJs have included Radio 1's Zane Lowe, and that was only £5 on entrance.
On Thursdays the typical entrance fee is just £1. And there are no charges for going outside for a cigarette as there is an outdoor smoking area at the back of the bar. Future acts include Goldie Lookin’ Chain, Fight Like Apes and many others.
Pints served here include Carlsberg and Tuborg and these go from £1.70 for Carlsberg on cheap nights, to £2.70 for Tuborg. Bottles of lager include Carlsberg, Turborg, Asahi, Sol, Newcastle Brown and Corona and they range from £1.50 to £3.
Spirits served are sambuca, whisky, vodka and Southern Comfort, these are usually served in small plastic glasses. WKDs and Smirnoff Ice are also sold for around £3 a bottle.
The Last Word
Overall this is a good place if you love rock and alternative music and maybe a good rave but aren’t too fussy about how clean the place looks, enjoy!